TALIBAN. The Taliban are a movement that originated in the mid 1990s. They practice a strict fundamentalist version of Sharia Law. The Taliban have 150,000 fighters. They now control Afghanistan, a landlocked country that borders Iran, China, Pakistan and four countries ending in “stan” known as the Stans.
The Taliban now get, for a brief fleeting moment, a second chance to make a first impression. Last time around they cut off heads, brutalized women and blew up priceless monuments. They have a chance to reboot who they are. The Germans remade themselves after WW II. Anything is possible. The American Press will give them about a week to demonstrate that they are not stuck in the Stone Age, after which the conventional wisdom will hold that they’re stone cold irrational killers.
JOE BIDEN. Has bragged about his knowledge of Afghanistan claiming he has taken up to 30 trips there. This is a moment of truth time for Joe Biden. Biden must get all our personnel out of Afghanistan safely. The same for the interpreters who risked their lives to help our troops. Biden’s presidency is on the line. Get us out neat and clean. There is no margin for error. Let your work speak for itself. Don’t over talk it. Use Wendy Sherman, No. 2 at State, as a spokesperson in place of underwhelming Secretary of State, Tony Blinken.
IRAN. Iran shares a 590-mile border with Afghanistan. A couple of million Afghanistan citizens have escaped into Iran. It’s in Iran’s interest to help Biden get all Americans out of Afghanistan safely. Iran helped the US right after 9/11, which our Israeli-Centric press treated like a state secret. The most effective public spokesperson Iran has is Javad Zarif who no longer has an official role in the new Iranian Government. They should put him to work. He proves that it’s possible to be Iranian and funny at the same time.
ISRAEL. Was successful in getting Iran classified in George Bush‘s Speech as part of the “Axis of Evil” after 9/11 even though Iran was tangibly helpful to us while Israel was urging us to start a war with Iraq. Israel will look to tie the Taliban to Iran and use that tie (whether it exists or not) as a reason to make trouble with Iran. Dummies in the Congress like Jim (The Gym Guy) Jordan will carry that message.
THE PRESS. The path of least resistance for the American Press is to assume the worst about Islam in any and all manifestations and circumstances. There are a few people who are worth listening to/watching. I like Fareed Zakaria, Barry McCaffrey, Andrea Mitchell, Ian Bremmer, Christiane Amanpour, Barbara Starr, Brian Williams and Ayman Mohyeldin. Ayman may be the best.
Joe Biden has a lot to lose if Americans get killed in the exit. States like Iran, Pakistan and China would be well advised to help the US make a clean exit.
Regime change wars are a thing of the past. Talking to adversaries should not be reserved as a reward for good behavior but as a means for achieving conflict avoidance and co-existence.
Prideful “we’ll talk to you if you do this that and the other” is stupid.
Comments are welcome at tomc[at]wednesdayswars[dot]com. Comments will be addressed in subsequent posts.